Kenya Constitution opponents insincere

April 11, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 11 – The National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) is accusing those opposed to the proposed constitution of harboring a hidden agenda in an effort of derailing the review process.

NCSC President Morris Odhiambo said on Sunday that politicians campaigning for a ‘No’ vote at the upcoming referendum were actually misleading Kenyans for personal gains.

Addressing journalists, he said they were using issues such as Kadhis courts and devolution as a smoke screen for pertinent issues to do with land, which they are seeking to protect.

“We know that a lot of those who are complaining on the chapter on land are doing so because the law has provided there shall be a review of the ownership of land. They are serving their own interests because they have amassed huge tracts of land, which they cannot account for,” Mr Odhiambo said.

He cautioned religious leaders from being used to sanction politicians’ interests.

Twenty four MPs led by Agriculture Minister William Ruto, have already come out to form a caucus to campaign for the rejection of the proposed document at the referendum.

“The No campaign is a marriage of convenience, which has no life because it is not based on any principal, and based on sectarian interests  which were not meant to be dominant in constitution review, Mr Odhiambo said.

Church leaders, Environment Minister John Michuki and former President Daniel arap Moi have also declared their disapproval of the proposed law.

Mr Odhiambo however asserted confidence that the proposed constitution would pass the referendum test as the Church – which had taken a hardline position – was beginning to ease off in support of the document.

“The draft constitution enjoys overwhelming support regardless of what the church leaders and politicians will say. Kenyans are now more enlightened than they were in 2005 (during the previous Constitution referendum),” he said.

He said many of the arguments being brought by religious leaders were misinformed as exhibited after a meeting with President Kibaki Prime Minister Odinga and other senior government officials.

“They are criticising on the wrong basis. If you look at the draft the clause on abortion, which they have raised as a contentious issue already, exists in the penal code,” he said.


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